Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Cricut Explore Treehouse - Blending Cartridges with SVG Files

I grew up in a house my mom rented from my grandparents.  It was their first home, one they later kept as a rental property even after they moved on to a bigger, nicer home.  It was a shotgun house built in the early 1900s.  Everything about it was old and every bit of it was something that my grandpa could build upon, fix up, change, or maintain.  It was the kind of house that had more layers of paint than it had rooms, but it had a huge, long backyard and my grandpa used to take half of that space for a giant garden every year.  He would come over every day and garden until the noon alarm sounded at the firehouse.  One day, he took it upon himself to build me a playhouse.  It was built off the back of the ancient garage and featured sliding windows and a real door.  My grandpa was the kind of person who could build something from nothing.  Living through the Great Depression and World Wars trained him, or so he said.  He was highly creative and skilled but he would have told you you were crazy if you suggested that.  He was modest and kind and always devalued his abilities, thinking he would have been better had he been formally educated.

That old playhouse has been long overrun by weeds, water damage, and birds happy to have a winter home. The trees in the yard are as old as the house, towering high over it.  That is something my mom thinks about whenever we have wind or ice storms, as she inherited that house.  Even in the '70s when that was my playhouse, those big, old trees were part of the experience of being in the little structure. 

My own daughter is really a bit too old for playhouses, but maybe not treehouses.  I often think of how much she would have loved the one from my childhood.  I have been noticing unusual ones springing up in neighborhoods, where they peek from side yards, over privacy fences, or attached to outbuildings.  Recently, I saw one that was plopped down on a big 'ol tree trunk... the kind of trunk where despite someone's handy chopping, the tree isn't quite finished thinking of itself as a tree and sprouts up new branches.  That was the inspiration for a paper treehouse I just finished.

Recently, I provided tutorials and shared what I have learned about the Explore.  You can find those on my two previous posts and on my new Explore pages at the top of this blog.  Today, however, I just wanted to share something fun that will probably teach nothing, but I hope is fun to look at.  I combined two SVGcuts files - Gingerbread Chalet Village and the round box under the egg house from Cotton Tail Village along with Cricut cartridges Kate's ABCs, Nate's ABCs, Wall Decor and More, Spring Cottage, Mother's Day Bouquet, Suburbia, and Stretch Your Imagination and punches and hand-cut elements.

This is actually a functioning gift box.  The round box on the bottom opens--I changed the size to be much smaller.  The house on top was originally a box, but I altered the front to be open and glued the roof in place.  I also removed the light holes that are on the original file.  I used Cuttlebug folders to add dimension to the round box to minic bark.

I used the back layer from the tree on Wall Decor and More and applied leaves from Mother's Day Bouquet.  The flowers around the base are a combination of cuts from Kate's ABCs with those punched from  Martha Stewart punches.

I added to the house window on the back wall by adding a window frame and flower box from Spring Cottage.  On the inside, I have a silhouette of a bunny on a chair cut from Kate's ABCs.  I placed acetate in between the pane cuts.

I hand-cut a banner and used little brads to look like nails used to hang it.  I found some great faux bois papers that I used to make my structure look weather-worn.

I created a vine using a branch from Stretch Your Imagination and butterflies that I hand-colored from Kate's ABCs.  I used Marvy LePlume II markers on the leaves, vines, and butterflies to add color and dimension.

I added a girl from Suburbia.  If you are interested in how to make those flat silhouettes of people into dimensional characters, you are invited to check out a tutorial I did on this by clicking here.  

The girl is looking at a butterfly... and so is the little bunny in the chair behind her.  Wonder when she will discover the bunny?

I added a bird next from Nate's ABCs and more butterflies in the tree and on the vine.

I worried that using an Explore and designing on a computer would hamper my ability to make things that look handmade and unique from the SVG files and cartridge cuts I made from them.  I found that the secret was to make multiple files!  I started with one that allowed me to adjust the sizes and cuts of the bottom box and house.  (The house was sized as recommended from SVGcuts but the round box was reduced in size.) Next I made one with the trees that I altered.  I made one with all the Nate and Kate images and realized that I would never even be able to sort out which teeny cut went with which image so I hide images and worked with one at a time.  (I usually appreciate the color sync function, but at some point, you just need to think about each individual element!)  I hand-cut the dress for the girl so I could bend and crease at the hem, added an extra arm cut so it would pop up and get some dimension.  I made separate cuts for the leaves and vines so I wouldn't have to hide other images!  I hand-cut the pennant banner.  I had more fun with this than I have had in a long time!  It was such a nice mini vacation from the stress of everyday stuff!  And all the technology of using Design Space helped the project and made it so easy to keep notes as I went!  (If you don't know how to make notes on your Design Space file mat, I have a little tutorial on my last post-- click here.)  It was a nice realization.. and a relief.

Thank you for checking my blog post today!  To see some of my previous projects, visit My Project Gallery. I have also updated my blog pages and have added pages for Pens and Writing on the Explore and How to Cut Fabric on the Explore.    Happy Crafting!


Maria said...

Awesome project love it. You have some beautiful childhood memories.

Ann said...

Fabulous, Nadia! Thank you so much for sharing your many talents....
Ann DeHart

cdm317 said...

Nadia, that is amazing! I knew you would rock that Explore! The details are fabulous!

Melissa said...

This is a masterpiece!

Karen said...

Absolutely awesome, like all of your other amazing creations! Love this!😀

Unknown said...

I love what you made. It is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this project.

Sis Patterson said...

Now this is a Nadia masterpiece! I am so glad to see your magic at work again. Thank you so much for the inspiration, the tips, and the joy you shared with us today!


DIANA L. said...

This is Awesome as with all your artsy projects. I love it.
you could enter this in my DL.ART Thankful Thursday Anything Goes April Linky Party. Have a blessed day

Hrvatica said...

Your project is absolutely amazing. The details are incredible.

Dianne said...

There is no way in heck that I could re-create your beautiful house tree. It is something of a miracle that I have dreamed of having one day as a child. I enjoyed your post and wished that I could have experienced that time in your life. However, I did have a tire swing that I thought was the best ever.

Dianne Bell -

scootingranny said...

What a special talent you are! Love your posts and learning ideas from you!

Angie's Paper Passion said...

Nadia, as usual I am amazed at your work! This is so adorable! Your eye for details is remarkable and makes your projects even more amazing. Thank you for sharing!

Francine said...

I just love this tree house! I am always amazed by your creativity and attention to detail. Do you give away all these 3D projects or do you have a "showcase" room in your house? LOL! Anyone would love one of these gems and you always inspire me to pay attention to the small stuff. Thanks for sharing your amazing talent! said...

This is the cutes! I'll bet you had a wonderful time doing it too . . . and such a great story about your granddad.

Unknown said...

I love your story. You have wonderful memories. Your projects are grand and awesome! Love your site.

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